SC boost to CBI on issue of prior sanction against babus
CBI, which is at loggerheads with the Centre for getting more autonomy, today got a boost from the Supreme Court which held that the agency does not need to get government's approval to probe and prosecute its senior officials in court-monitored cases.
A bench headed by Justice R M Lodha dismissed the Centre's contention that CBI cannot proceed against its officials up to the rank of Joint Director and above without its approval.
The apex court admitted the plea of CBI which submitted Section 6A (about getting sanction) must be read down to mean that prior approval is not necessary in cases where investigation is monitored by the constitutional court.
Interpreting Section 6A of Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) under which CBI was constituted, the bench said anti-corruption laws are to be interpreted and worked out in such a fashion that helps in minimizing abuse of public office for private gain.
"When a court monitors the investigation, there is already departure inasmuch as the investigating agency informs the court about the progress of the investigation. Once the constitutional court monitors the inquiry/investigation which is only done in extraordinary circumstances and in exceptional situation having regard to the larger public interest.
"The inquiry/investigation into the crime under the PC Act against public servants by CBI must be allowed to have its course unhindered and uninfluenced and the procedure contemplated by Section 6A cannot be put at the level which impedes exercise of constitutional power by the Supreme Court under Articles 32, 136 and 142 of the Constitution. Any other view in this regard will be directly inconsistent with the power conferred on the highest constitutional court," it said.